Basal testosterone, leadership and dominance: a field study and meta-analysis

L. van der Meij, J. Schaveling, M. van Vugt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
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This article examines the role of basal testosterone as a potential biological marker of leadership andhierarchy in the workplace. First, we report the result of a study with a sample of male employeesfrom different corporate organizations in the Netherlands (n = 125). Results showed that employees withhigher basal testosterone levels reported a more authoritarian leadership style, but this relationshipwas absent among those who currently held a real management position (i.e., they had at least onesubordinate). Furthermore, basal testosterone levels were not different between managers and non-managers, and testosterone was not associated with various indicators of status and hierarchy suchas number of subordinates, income, and position in the organizational hierarchy. In our meta-analysis(second study), we showed that basal testosterone levels were not associated with leadership in men norin women (9 studies, n = 1103). Taken together, our findings show that basal testosterone is not associatedwith having a leadership position in the corporate world or related to leadership styles in leaders. Wesuggest that basal testosterone could play a role in acquiring leadership positions through dominant andauthoritarian behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-79
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Authoritarian
  • Dominance
  • Leadership
  • Managers
  • Meta-analysis
  • Testosterone


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